Prep boys hockey: Ziemski backstops East to win over CEC
Lumberjacks' goal-scoring woes continue in loss to Greyhounds
DULUTH — Goaltender Zander Ziemski steered aside 19 shots for Duluth East in a 4-1 win over Section 7 foe Cloquet-Esko-Carlton, Monday, Jan. 24 at Heritage Arena.
The section win for the Greyhounds was their first of the season, with their record now sitting at 1-4-1 against the field, and 3-11-1 overall.
“We needed it for our QRF (Quality Results Formula computer rankings) at this point, because section seeding-wise we’re down at the bottom,” Duluth East coach Steve Pitoscia said. “Nobody wants to play play-in games and go right to Andover or Grand Rapids right out of the chute, so that’s really the big thing.”
The Lumberjacks dropped to 5-12-1 overall with the loss, and 1-4 in section play.
The season-long struggle for CEC to find timely scoring proved to be a challenge again in Monday’s loss, as their inability to create net-front presence and challenge Ziemski was a source of frustration for CEC coach Shea Walters.
“We had a good game plan (but) we just did not execute at all,” Walters said. “It was tough for us to get to the net. We needed to challenge the goalie. We needed to get inside, and for whatever reason, we just weren’t getting to the net tonight for grade A opportunities.”
The visiting team generated the first five shots on net to start the opening period and appeared poised to break through early, only to have each scoring chance denied by Ziemski.
The deadlock was eventually broken by the Greyhounds with just over five minutes left in the period when Wyatt Peterson caught CEC goaltender Jacob Walsh out of position with a nifty backhand wraparound goal. The 1-0 score held until the 9:31 mark of the second period.
CEC scored its lone goal on the man advantage as freshman Karson Young fired a shot from the point which glanced off the blade of Patrick Dunaiski and into the back of the net to knot the game up at one apiece.
East answered with a back-breaking goal in the final minute of the period off the stick of Grant Winkler. The tally stood as the game-winner for the Greyhounds.
Makoto Sudoh added an insurance goal at the 10:15 mark of the third period before Cole Christian added an empty-net marker in the final seconds to make it 4-1.
Opportunities to score were few and far between for the Lumberjacks in the third period as play was relegated almost exclusively to their own end of the ice. Finding ways to generate more shots on net will be a point of emphasis for the team moving forward.
“If we can continue that momentum that we gain with getting the puck to the net, good things will happen,” Walters said. “It’s a percentage game: the more pucks you get to the net, the better chance you have of scoring. It's just basic math and we kind of struggled in that last period.”
The Lumberjacks will look to get back in the win column on Tuesday, Jan. 25 when they host Rock Ridge. The Greyhounds will take on Centennial on Wednesday, Jan. 26 on the road.
Duluth East 1-1-2— 4
First period — 1, DE, Wyatt Peterson (Cole Christian) (PP), 5:01.
Second period — 1, CEC, Patrick Dunaiski (Karson Young, Joey Antonutti) (PP), 9:31; 2, DE, Grant Winkler (Makoto Sudoh, Nathan Teng), 0:38.
Third period — 3, DE, Sudoh (Henry Murray), 10:15; 4, DE, Christian (Teng), 0:02.Goalie saves — DE, Zander Ziemski 19; CEC, Jacob Walsh 23.